U.S. Suspends 26 Chinese Flights in Growing Covid Spat Between the 2 Countries

August 27, 2022

The United States government has announced that it is suspending flights by Chinese airlines to the U.S. This comes after Beijing suspended flights by American carriers. Officials say this is in response to the Chinese government's lack of cooperation in controlling the spread of COVID-19.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a complaint against Beijing, claiming that the country violated an air-travel agreement and treated airlines unfairly under a system that requires them to suspend flights if passengers test positive for the coronavirus.

The Department of Transportation has announced that they are suspending seven Air China flights from New York City, as well as nineteen flights from Los Angeles, by Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines. This is in response to concerns over safety and security.

This number is comparable to the mandate given by Beijing that required United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines to cancel a certain amount of flights.

Since the Chinese Communist Party's "zero-COVID" strategy, case numbers have remained low in China. However, this has disrupted travel, manufacturing and trade. Beijing is reportedly easing travel curbs, but most foreign visitors are still barred from entering China.

Since Aug. 7, if four percent or more of passengers on a flight test positive for the coronavirus, the flight must be suspended, according to the Department of Transportation. This is a change from the previous rule, which said that a carrier could suspend a flight for two weeks or reduce the passengers it carried to 40% of the possible total if up to nine passengers on a flight tested positive.

The agency complained that airlines face “undue culpability” for passengers who present negative test results before boarding but test positive after arriving in China.

China’s actions are “premised on circumstances wholly outside of the carriers’ control,” the U.S. statement said.

In addition to all the growing hostilities between the 2 nations, this hardly helps...

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